Mycaranthes pannea (Lindl.) S.C. Chen & J.J.Wood.

Epiphyte. Rhizomes thick, stems very short, even unnoticeable. Leaves pendulous, fleshy, cylindrical, pointed at the apex, 5 to 8 cm long and less than .35 cm in diameter. Peduncle woolly, terminal with 1 to 3 flowers. Flowers about 1 to 1.5 cm across, sepals and petal bright yellow with green shade while opening and turns to orange shade in a day or two. Lip is with shades of dark brown with a bright yellow marking on its apex. Dorsal sepal broadly elliptic, lateral pair ovate to triangular, spreading. Petals smaller than the sepals, elliptic. Lip fleshy, oblong, concave, downy with oblong granular calli near the base and apex. Sepals and petals externally pubescent.

Eria pannea, lindl (Mycaranthes pannea, Lindl)
Eria pannea lindl (Mycaranthes pannea Lindl)

The Pursuit

A very interesting plant with pendulous narrow cylindrical fleshy leaves. The leaves are seen hanging down in long lines from the under side of tree branches. I had spotted this rarely only. The species is getting rarer and rarer, hence I put extra attention on the specimens I found and waited for them to be in flowers. The climb up the tree was very hard as the single trunk tree was a huge old one with no support to climb. The villagers of the area who are very familiar with climbing trees did a lot of hard work in helping me to climb up the tree along with my camera equipments up the tree. The first day of documentation was not satisfying as I was not able to bring out the hairy details of the flowers. My desire to back lit the flower with flashes at this great height made it a very difficult task. After several ideas and attempts I was able to fix the flashes on the appropriate position to bring out such a wonderful photograph of the species with amazing details.

Mycaranthes floribunda (D.Don) S.C.Chen & J.J.Wood.

Epiphyte. Stems 2 to 3 ft long and about 1.5 cm in diameter. Leaves many, fleshy, linear, sessile, 2 to 3 cm long and hardly 1 cm in width. Racemes in terminal fascicles, 2 to 3 in numbers, sometimes even up to 5, 5 to 12 cm long, woolly with lanceolate bracts at their bases. Flowers around 1 cm across, translucent, petals and sepals and the lip is of a pale yellowish green base. Petals and base of the lip with broad purple shade and deep blotches of the same colour, except on the midrib portion and edges of the petals and on the callus of the lip. Sepals with irregular pale purple markings. Dorsal sepal ovate and the lateral pair more towards a triangular shape, spreading. Petals as long as the dorsal sepal, obovate. The lip is sub-orbicular, 3 lobed, the base with a large callus, lateral lobes oblong, sub-falcate. All parts are pubescent externally.

Eria paniculata, Lindl (Mycaranthes floribunda (D.Don)
Eria paniculata Lindl (Mycaranthes floribunda (D.Don).

The Pursuit

This species can be found growing in the tropical forests of the region. However, the find of this specimen was accidental. It was in the late days of winter and I was on a trip to locate some other plants. The survey was in a valley which is a tributary of the river Teesta, at low elevation. I have to climb down from 4800 ft to the valley. As there was a village in the valley the trek path was regularly used by villagers. As it was the early spring month the undergrowth on the valley was also moderate. Hence I was searching for some terrestrial orchids in the valley. As the schools of the region are yet to open after the winter vacations, a few kids of the village also joined me. As they know me and my work, they also joined the search operation for the ground orchids. After a couple of hours of search and survey, we all were crossing the tributary through a wooden bridge. All of a sudden one of the boys spotted this plant, a pendulous stem about 2 ft long with flowers on a tree next to the bridge. I was surprised to see it in flowers too. The enthusiastic boys were ready to pull the plant down for me. It has always been my policy not to remove the plants from its natural habitats. The plant was hardly 12 to 15 ft high on the tree. My companions were expert enough to climb up the tree before me. This valley of the region is always devoid of any wind or breeze, which makes it very much comfortable to shoot even pendulous plants. With the help of the three kids I produced this wonderful photograph. After that I came across this species in flower many times for the next 2 to 3 months from several locations also.